Ravens Get On Deck With Shipley, Continue Offseason Haul
By Cian Fahey
This is the time of the offseason when moves that ultimately prove to be completely irrelevant are thrust into the spotlight and made into the biggest possible headlines. We're starved for football right now. It's been roughly four months since the Super Bowl and it is another five before the regular season begins again.
Since some of us have this sickness that means we can't get away from the game for a few months, live a real life and come back to it with a fresh new optimism, we need to know about things such as how undrafted rookies – who are probably the 80th or 90th best players in their respective camps – perform during their first mini-camp drills.
The worst syndrome of this “offseason sickness” is by far the reaction to any breaking trades. Trades in the NFL are rarely ever blockbusters. Over the last few years, Darrelle Revis and Jay Cutler are arguably the only real big names to move between two franchises in a trade. Yet, without fail each offseason, there will be a trade involving two fringe players that will send shockwaves through the whole media.
This week, the Baltimore Ravens were involved in a trade. While it wasn't a blockbuster by any means, it wasn't an irrelevant move either. The Ravens traded a conditional 2014 pick to the Indianapolis Colts for backup C A.Q Shipley. Shipley is a former seventh round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers who impressed on the field for the Colts last year. However, the Colts feel comfortable with Samson Satele and had concerns about Shipley's career longevity as well as his arm length.
Shipley has proven very little in the league, which is why his price is expected to be low. He was only on an active roster last year and will turn 27 before the start of this coming season. However, the Ravens needed to add depth and competition on the interior of their offensive line. At worst, Shipley should be a decent backup to youngster Gino Gradkowski, the favorite to land the starting center job. At best, he could become the full-time starter at the position.
While he is obviously more of an unknown than anything, he offers the Ravens some potential and flexibility they have been lacking. Matt Birk's retirement and Jah Reid's expected move back to tackle left the Ravens with Ricky Wagner, Ramon Harewood and Ryan Jensen as their primary backups. Shipley will compete with them initially to earn repetitions in training camp. From there, he will need to impress if he is to do anything more than land a roster spot.